WASHINGTON, DC (KELO AM) — Following months of rail service delays and backlogs U.S. Senator John Thune (R-South Dakota), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, today announced the committee will hold a hearing on U.S. rail service issues on Wednesday, September 10, 2014, entitled “Freight Rail Service - Improving the Performance of America’s Rail System.” The hearing will examine rail service backlogs in South Dakota and throughout the region which have led to service disruptions for South Dakota farmers, ethanol producers, utilities, and other businesses.
“With the backlog in rail service and grain bins reaching capacity, South Dakota producers have limited storage options for both last year’s and this year’s expected record-breaking harvest,” said Thune. “I will continue working with Chairman Rockefeller and the Surface Transportation Board (STB) to seek commitments from the railroads to address the backlog of grain orders to minimize the harm that South Dakota producers face in getting their crops to market. I look forward to the committee’s upcoming hearing and hope it will better highlight for committee members and the general public the scale and scope of the challenges that shippers are facing across the country.”
Since the beginning of this year, Thune has worked with the STB, as well as the senior leadership of Canadian Pacific, Burlington Northern Santa Fe, and Rapid City, Pierre and Eastern to address service issues that South Dakota shippers have raised. This Commerce Committee hearing will follow the STB’s field hearing that is taking place in Fargo, ND on Thursday, September 4, 2014, to allow the public and shippers to reiterate the ongoing delays and what it means to agriculture, energy, and other shippers.
Thune serves on both the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee which has jurisdiction over our nation’s freight and passenger railroads, as well as the Senate Agriculture Committee. In addition, Thune previously served as State Railroad Director under former Governor George S. Mickelson from 1991-1993.